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  • Rev. Timothy E Byerley, Ph.D

Pentecost & Conversion

The first Pentecost was the day the Holy Spirit filled the Apostles with His divine power in the upper room in Jerusalem, and brought about the conversion of 3,000 bystanders who were baptized and entered the Church that day. The Holy Spirit has been working powerfully ever since to draw people to Christ and his Church. Below are a few recent converts to Catholicism who likewise were moved by the same Spirit of God:

Tony Blair (b. 1953): British Labour Party leader and prime minister from 1997 to 2007, he was the youngest prime minister since 1812. His wife, Cherie, is also Catholic.

Cherry Boone (b. 1954): Daughter of the famous evangelical singer Pat Boone. Married in 1975 to the writer Dan O’Neill, she and her husband both converted to Catholicism.

Robert Bork (1927-2012): American judge and jurist best known for the vicious political fight that blocked his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987. He and his wife converted to Catholicism in 2003.

Dave Brubeck (1920-2012): One of the most renowned American jazz musicians. He converted in 1980 and was commissioned to compose the Mass to Hope.

Gary Cooper (1901-1961): American actor who earned three Academy Awards, including “Best Actor” for Sergeant York and High Noon. He had a powerful meeting with Pope Pius XII in 1953 and formally entered the Church in 1959.

Newt Gingrich (b. 1943): Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999 as well as an author, presidential candidate and historian.

Sir Alec Guinness (1914-2000): Academy Award- winning British actor who won the Oscar for “Best Actor” in 1957 for The Bridge on the River Kwai.

Susan Hayward (1917-1975): Academy Award- winning actress who won the Oscar for her portrayal of death-row inmate Barbara Graham in I Want to Live! (1958).

Katharine, Duchess of Kent (b. 1933): The wife of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (a grandson of King George V and Queen Mary and first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II), the first member of the royal family to convert since 1701.

Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918): American poet, journalist and editor, best known for his short poem Trees (1913). He was killed in 1918 at the end of World War I.

Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987): The first American woman appointed to a major ambassadorial post abroad, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1943 to 1947, writer and playwright.

Norma McCorvey (1947-2017): The plaintiff in the infamous 1973 lawsuit Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion who subsequently became pro-life.

Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980): Canadian professor, philosopher and media theorist best known for coining the expressions “the medium is the message” and “global village.”

Queen Nazli (1894-1978): Queen of Egypt from 1919 to 1936 as the second wife of King Faud and mother of King Farouk of Egypt. She and her

daughter, Fathia, converted from Islam in 1950.

Knute Rockne (1888-1931): Norwegian-born coach of the Notre Dame football team from 1918 to 1930 and considered one of the greatest coaches in sports history.

John Wayne (1907-1979): Academy Award- winning actor beloved for his roles in westerns and war movies.

Israel Zolli (1881-1956): Italian Jewish scholar and the chief rabbi in Rome from 1940 to 1945. A friend of Pope Pius XII, he converted from Judaism to Catholicism in 1945.

May the Holy Spirit work in the same way to convert our loved ones to the Divine Truth of Christ.

Come Holy Spirit, and renew the face of the Earth!

Fr. Tim Byerley



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